The Philippines will face various dangers this year as President Rodrigo Duterte enters the second year of his term, former Ateneo School of Government dean Tony La Viña has warned.
In his January 2 column for the Manila Standard, La Viña said he expects the police to be involved in more shooting incidents, similar to the “mistaken identity” incident involving the Mandaluyong police last week.
“For sure, there will be more of that in the year to come unless strong disciplinary measures are taken and well established protocols in the use of force are restored,” he said.
La Viña, who teaches law in various universities nationwide, said the police have been emboldened to use their guns because of Duterte’s assurance of protection.
“Unfortunately, we have distored the rule and now automatically exonerate the police until proof is shown that the force used was not justified,” he said.
In the realm of politics, La Viña predicts 2018 to be a “dangerous year for social and political activists, human rights advocates, journalists committed to truth and opposition politicians.”
People critical of Duterte, he said, face threats from his supporters who believe he is leading the country right.
“They do not understand that the more they attack those who resist, the stronger the resistance becomes,” La Viña said.
He said it will come as no surprise should Duterte declare a revolutionary government or if Congress forces through a constitutional revision.